LEETSDALE (KDKA) — A local couple, accused in the alleged abuse of their adopted children, is now facing new charges.

Despite the accusations, the couple’s attorneys say the charges make no sense.

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When Douglas and Kristen Barbour arrived for their preliminary hearing on Monday, they and their attorneys were surprised to learn they’re about to face new charges.

At district court in Leetsdale, Douglas Barbour – a suspended Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General – held hands with his wife as they learned that in addition to facing charges they abused two Ethiopian children they adopted, they will also face two additional reckless endangerment charges and a new aggravated assault charge.

They have been able to see their biological children under supervision, but have not been able to see their adoptive children.

The new aggravated assault charge apparently relates to allegations the 6-year-old adopted boy was not fed properly at the couple’s Franklin Park home.

It’s a charge their lawyers deny.

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“What is the basis for this aggravated assault? Is it truly that they purposely withheld food and they were starving this child to death? Which is absurd,” said Robert Stewart, a defense attorney. “He was taken to the hospital that day because they were concerned about the weight loss.”

KDKA’s Harold Hayes: “Can you tell us about the new charges?”

Prosecutor Laura Ditka: “No, we have no comment at this time.”

While Ditka declined comment, the couple’s attorneys – who spoke out publicly for the first time Monday – accused prosecutors of selectively using the Barbour’s statements to suit the charges.

They asked for and were granted a delay in the preliminary hearing. They say the couple is frustrated.

“You can imagine it’s very difficult on them,” said defense attorney Charles Porter. “There’s no suggestion whatsoever that there were any problems whatsoever with their biological children. They seek to adopt two children and bring them into their homes and my question is why would you adopt two children and abuse them when your own are fine? It makes no sense in life that you would do that.”

A preliminary hearing on all charges now scheduled for January.

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